Friday, August 31, 2012


"Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."
Princess Diana of Wales
(image via The Telegraph)
It is hard to imagine that my favorite princess passed away fifteen years ago today.
To this day I have no idea why she effected me so profoundly, but she changed my childhood in a million little ways.  It may sound silly, but even as an adult Diana's death felt oddly personal to me.
I just can't explain it.

A New (not so little) Project

The Oak Park and River Forest Day Nursery is turning 100 years old.  I find that mightily impressive for a pre-school facility and I could not wait to get on board with their celebratory plans.  As part of my role in the centennial planning (we are in the very early phases), I am working with several other former board members to put together a cookbook containing of 100 recipes from past fundraising benefits.  It is really fascinating to sit down with the originators of the event I worked on or chaired for four years; each and everyone of us passionate about food, entertaining and fundraising.  Sifting through the recipes to narrow them down was challenging because of the diversity dishes and funny because you have never seen so many recipes for "wings and balls" in your life, but we finally did it!  And now we've started the long process of building the book.  In fact just last night a committee member made three dishes for me to photograph for the book; these little morsels come from 1990 and 1992.  Both were quite delicious and a snap to prepare!  When the book is finished I imagine it will be filled with a vast array of beautiful and useful recipes for the home cook!

Monday, August 27, 2012

This Week-end on the Pitch

 This week-end Finn and his Edge team competed in the Shaumburg Soccer Fest.They finished a close second in their bracket and we were really pleased to see them get their season off to a good start!  Finn was moving really well and even found his inner flamenco dancer while fighting for an aerial ball.

 I love bumping into our friends and Finn's teammates from our Italian adventure when we attend tournaments. Yesterday, we found three teammates roaming around Shaumburg! Travelling across the globe made our world bigger, but made the soccer community ever so much smaller. It was great bumping into folks who share such vivid memories!

Friday, August 24, 2012


You have got to be kidding me. 
The more I think about this the more exciting the concept becomes!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Sorting

I cannot believe how quickly this summer has flown by!  Spending this afternoon supervising the great 2012 school supply sorting, however, provided a healthy dose of back-to-school reality.  Tomorrow, the Finnman will take his place among the 7th graders at Julian Middle School and on Thursday, Emma will start her sophomore year  at OPRF.  And yes, she has driver's ed in her second semester...
Happy School!

The Sun ate my Cushions

As strange as it sounds it is totally true; the sun ate our deck  cushions.  We take really good care of our outdoor furniture...if it rains we bring the cushions in...we bring the entire set in to winter over in the basement, but this summer did them in.  They started looking a little funny to me about a month ago and when I went to touch the fabric it literally disintegrated before my eyes.  My friend Aim suggested it couldn't withstand the relentless heat and sun this summer and declared the fabric cooked to the point of ruin.  I sure didn't see that coming, but my Leifer came to the rescue!  We couldn't find any replacement cushions of the right size and reupholstering them would have cost a fortune in the financially deadly parenting month known as August, but Leif was undeterred.  He braved the fabric store and we wrapped up our weather worn seats in a bright and sunny stripe.  I think it is a cute patch job that will get our furniture through the waning days of summer!

Monday, August 20, 2012

100 Years of Julia

Celebrating 100 years of Julia
/A collective menu/
Potage Creme De Cresson
Soupe a la Oignon Gratinee
Concombre Froide Soupe
Petits Chaussons au Roquefort
Petits Chaussons au Veau et Porc
Bruschetta alla Julie and Julia
Caneton a l'Orange
Tomates a la Provencale
Pommes De Terre a L'Huile
Julia's French Baguette
Bleuets Tarte Nectarine
Le Marquis avec Creme au Beurre Menager
Reine de Saba Glacage au Chocolate
Clafouti aux Pommes Normande

Gathering friends and family to honor the birthday of the great Julia Child has become one of my favorite annual celebrations!  This year we successfully celebrated what would have been Julia's 100th birthday and everyone put their best foot forward!  I am constantly impressed by the talent among our foodie friends.  The French wines flowed as we enjoyed the fruits of our labor and the pleasure of good company.  Just look at these pictures!  I am sure you can understand why picking a favorite dish proved to be nearly impossible.
After careful consideration, I decided that the 2012 Mastering the Art of French Cooking Award goes to The Frigs!  They've been cooking for Julia ever since we started throwing this party and have never shied away from her challenging recipes.  This year in addition to making a duo of savory turnovers they served them alongside an herb aioli and raspberry sauce!  Everyone loved them and Julia's birthday party wouldn't be the same without Chris, Pen and their girls!

Happy Mother's Day!

 Last May, Finn wrote me a lovely little poem for Mother's Day and I mentioned that Emma was still working on her gift for me.  She has a pretty hectic schedule and I am grateful she found the time to finish my gift in the waning days of summer.  My foodie throne is one of the best gifts I have ever received.  Emma's attention to detail and crafty precision ensure I will have this chair as a treasure for years to come!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Julia!

Julia Child would have turned 100 years old today.
She had a life worth celebrating!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


(photo by Corey Kessler)

Emma performing in M. Gorgal's piece Arcane 
Momenta's Young Choreographer's Workshop

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday Dinner on the Deck

 This morning I woke up bright and early and channeled my inner Caroline Ingalls.  I made a blueberry tart from scratch, whipped up some fresh bread and even made an herb infused lemonade from dozens of sour lemons!  I am not sure what possessed me to get my prairie girl on, but I am sure glad I did! 

 Kaberi, Vik, Vikas and Nancy joined us for a seasonal dinner on the deck featuring simple grilled chicken, shrimp in escabeche, barley, corn, arugula and tomato salad, and a fresh fruit salad.  Vikas, a new and true walker, slowed down just long enough to eat a freshly baked roll and some blueberry tart.  In fact, we all loved the blueberry tart!  I really cannot think of a more perfect way to spend an afternoon!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Taco Night!

 After marching in a parade it is always nice not to have to worry about cooking dinner and it is even nicer to have dinner with the Frigs!  The Kraljs joined in, too and we had our own little fiesta right down to the fire cracker style conversation.  I can't tell you how nice it was to spend the evening with these guys and I am counting the minutes until we can do this again!

 Chris and Penny made an extraordinary strawberry grouper ceviche and even tried rolling some shrimp and goat cheese in mashed plantains, but frying them proved to be a little tricky.  A perplexed Pen brought out the misshapen appetizers and they turned out to be a delicious disaster!

From there we enjoyed a thoughtful taco bar and everyone had more than enough to eat before settling in for more fun-filled conversation!  Thanks so much for having us guys!  It had been a little too long.

The Bud Billiken Parade

 Bright and early this morning all four of us headed down to Hyde Park to march in the 83rd annual Bud Billiken Parade. Bud Billiken is the oldest and largest African American parade in the United States and celebrates going back to school.  Walking alongside everyone from The University of Chicago Medicine Urban Heath Initiative is always full of fun and the countless cook outs taking place along the parade route give this day a delicious signature scent.  The parade features floats, drill and dance teams,  and marching bands; spectators come out in droves to celebrate the start of a new school year.  Emma and Finn even met  Mayor Emanue! After finishing the route we all had a lovely picnic lunch in Washington Park together.  This hands down the best day to visit Leif at work!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Starved Rock State Park

 Today the four of us packed up a little picnic and headed to Starved Rock State Park in Yutica, IL.  Although Leif and Emma had been there before, I am embarrassed to admit that I had never visited this park before.  I am quite happy I made my first visit today because we could not have had better weather for our outing!  With temperatures hovering in the upper 70's and a lovely breeze making things more than comfortable, we hiked for hours in the woods and chatted the day away.

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